Punta del Este is a city and big tourist resort on the Atlantic Coast in the Maldonado Department of southeastern Uruguay.It is located on the intersection of Route 10 with Route 39, directly southeast of the department capital Maldonado and about 140 kilometres (87 mi) east of Montevideo.Although the city has a year-round population of about 7,300,the summer tourist boom often boosts the population by an extra 500,000.The first Europeans to set foot in what is now Punta del Este were the Spanish at the beginning of the 16th century. However, the colonization of the area actually began around Maldonado at the end of the 18th century due to Portuguese expansionism.Punta del Este and its surroundings (Maldonado and Punta Ballena for example) at the end of the 19th century were kilometers of sand and dunes, but in 1896 Antonio Lussich bought 4,447 acres (1800 hectares) of uninhabited land and there he started a botanic garden and planted trees and plants from all over the world.Later the trees started to spread on their own, and now the area is full mostly of Pines, Eucalyptus, Acacias and various species of bushes.Its status was elevated to "City" category 2 July 1957 by decree Ley No. 12.397.Punta del Este hosted an American Summit in 1967 attended by U.S. President Lyndon Johnson.In September 1986, Punta del Este played host to the start of the Uruguay Round of international trade negotiations.These negotiations ultimately led to the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1994.
In 2004, Punta del Este had a population of 7,298.During the 2004 census, there were 2,943 households in the department.The average household size was 2.4 persons.For every 100 females, there were 91.6 males.Punta del Este has scenic coasts and beaches.There are two types of coast: Brava and Mansa.This shows the end of the Río de la Plata (River of Silver) on one side and the beginning of the Atlantic Ocean, on the other side. Every beach of the peninsula has public access. There are quiet and calm water beaches while others have strong waves, white and fine sand or thick and golden ones.The split between wave types is around the Monumento al Ahogado, which the sculptor designed to warn swimmers that the rough waves could cause them to drown.La Barra is popular for nautical sports and fishing.Other areas include El Tesoro resort, Montoya beach, Bikini beach and Manantiales beach. Nowadays this area has become an important tourist centre.The city has much colonial architecture contrasting with more modern buildings.Nowadays it has a scenic shore, typical resort houses, modern buildings, a port with mooring capacity, department stores, restaurants, and pubs.There are several large houses, and gardens lined with plants.Gorlero Avenue, the main avenue of Punta del Este has commercial galleries, restaurants, cinemas, casinos, shops.Artigas square, over Gorlero Ave is the place where there is a popular handicraft market.